Summarized by Vickie Speek
Mormon Roadshows Sent Packing
Salt Lake Tribune 31Jul99 L2
By Peggy Fletcher Stack: Salt Lake Tribune
Many Mormons who have grown up in the LDS church have performed in a
roadshow at least once in their lives. People who later grew up to be
bankers, lawyers and professors, willingly -- even happily --
participated in that uniquely Mormon summertime ritual: the roadshow.
However, in the past decade, roadshows have fallen prey to dwindling
ward budgets, a lagging interest in the theatrical experience, and
the predominance of passive entertainment such as TV, movies, and the
Internet. In the last decade, the roadshow has become a voluntary and
infrequent local event. Few new wardhouses include a stage, and even
fewer continue the roadshow tradition itself.
Roadshows, 15-minute skits acted by members of an LDS ward were
performed over and over in all the wards in an LDS stake in a single
night. Performers traveled between church buildings in a caravan of
cars on a tight time schedule. They began as entertainment for weary
pioneers and blossomed into a full-blown theatrical tradition in the
1950s and 1960s. At the roadshows' pinnacle, the LDS Church sponsored
an all-church competition, bringing regional winners to Salt Lake
City for the final competition.